Tech Thursday: SpaceX CRS-17 set to launch on 26 April

NASA announced that this will be SpaceX’s 17th Commercial Resupply Services contract mission to the International Space Station. It marks a new era in space travel where a paying customer can launch a satellite into space using one of the rockets by SpaceX.

The launch on 26 April results in an arrival at the space station for a robotic capture by Expedition 59 crew members David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Nick Hague of NASA on Sunday, 28 April at 7 am EDT for a month-long stay. The robotic capture is when robots perform tasks deemed too dangerous for humans on a space mission.

Last February, Falcon Heavy, the Falcon Dragon’s massive, heavy-lift rocket launched into space in true Elon Musk spectacular fashion. The rocket launched with a cherry-red Tesla Roadster and a mannequin passenger, dubbed Starman, sitting in the driver’s seat.

This time around SpaceX will carry the paid-for Arabsat, a satellite services provider from Saudi Arabia. The Arabsat satellite will deploy roughly 34 minutes after launch. If everything goes according to plan technically and the weather holds out, Falcon Heavy will rumble upward at 6:35 pm Florida time on Wednesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Fans and tourists are expected to flock to the Florida Space Coast for the event, while some can catch the live broadcast on the SpaceX website.

With three boosters with 27 Merlin liquid propellant engines in total, the Falcon Heavy has more than 5 million pounds of thrust—the most for a launch since the Saturn V rocket was last used for Apollo moon missions in the early 1970s.

The SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is large and reusable giving Musk’s business the ability to bid for big commercial satellite launches and national security missions. A standard Falcon Heavy launch costs $90 million, according to the company’s website, compared to $62 million for the Falcon 9, a smaller rocket.

Source: Capricorn Review